A new production is now playing at the Nasson Community Center Little Theater in Springvale. The name of the show, written by Philip Grecian, is “A Christmas Story” based on the movie by Jean Shepherd, Leigh Bown and Bob Clark. This delightful show is suitable for children of all ages, and was skillfully directed by Marc Ciaraldi, who is the artistic director of the Our Theatre Company.

Set in the 1930s, the story revolves around a child, Ralphie Parker (Brian Foisy), who wants a genuine Red Ryder BB gun for his Christmas present. Foisy is a talented, bespectacled young man, who would be a natural to play Denace the Menace ”“ if you are old enough to recall that cartoon character. There is one moment when he gives a knowing grin to the audience that is priceless.

The part of Ralph Parker, Ralphie’s alter ego, is played by Kevin Reams, who is the narrator of events and who, by his inflection and enthusiasm, lets the audience know what is going to transpire. Ralphie’s parents, Randy and Mother, are played by Christopher Signore and Gwendolyn Benoit respectively. There are many moments, which, while not exactly hilarious by themselves, become so by repeated reference, e.g. Randy asking, “What’s for dinner?” and Mother replying, “Meatloaf!” Each time Randy’s enthusiasm dwindles.

Then, there are the lengths to which Ralphie goes to let his parents know what he wants for Christmas, and the retort Mother gives, “You’ll shoot yourself in the eye,” which, of course, actually happens when he does get the gun on Christmas ”“ rest assured, only the glasses, not the eye.

Dyer is convincing as the strapped-for-cash father, who eventually “wins a prize,” which turns out to be a lamp in the shape of a woman’s leg, a prize that his wife “accidentally” breaks. Then there is the episode that involves two of Ralphie’s pals (Daniel Kezar and Anthony Signore). Kezar “triple dog” dares Kezar to see if his tongue would freeze if he licked the flagpole outside their school. (It does.)

A significant but minor part is played by Emily Morris as the teacher, who gives a piercing cry dressed later in the show as a witch. (She could easily play the part of Wicked Witch of the West in “The Wizard of Oz,” in my opinion.) George Merusi lends a comic touch as a department store Santa, only too eager to take a sip of some liquid in a metal flask at the end of his shift.

Other important but relatively smaller parts are well played by Cyrus Dyer, as Ralphie’s little brother; Silas Noble, as the bully; and Meredith Rickard and Anna Kezar as classmates of Ralphie.

The action is never static, and there are many changes of scenery as well as the movement of the large cast of children. Credit for the smoothness of transitions must go not only to director Ciaraldi, but stage and production manager Cathy King. There are many nice touches in the prop department, especially a vintage radio. However, I don’t think the rotary dial telephone existed in the mid-1930s, and since the setting for the story is in Hohman, Indiana, the use of a Maine plate on the family car seemed out of place. That said, the entire production is one that will leave many happy vibes. The show is well worth the modest price for tickets.

Performances run Dec. 5-14 at Nasson Little Theatre, 457 Main St. in Springvale, Fridays and Saturdays at 7 p.m. and Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. General admission is $10 for adults, and $8 for seniors and children 12 and younger.

For more information and ticket reservations, call the box office at 294-2995. Tickets can be purchased online at www.myotc.org.

— Dr. Gold is a composer/conductor and an arts reviewer for the Journal Tribune.



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